By Sandra Emerson, Redlands Daily Facts
Posted: 06/09/14, 6:19 PM PDT |

HIGHLAND>> The City Council is considering placing an initiative on the November ballot that would split up the town into council districts, in reaction to legal threats made by activists.

The City Council has been elected at large, meaning all five members are voted into office by voters across the city, since it was incorporated in 1987.

A Malibu-based law firm claiming to represent some minority residents of Highland, sent the city a letter threatening to sue if they do not change to a district election format, under the California Voting Rights Act of 2001 — which allows minority groups in California to sue a government agency on the basis that their votes are lost in at-large elections.

“The idea behind it is to find out what the people of Highland want and then go from there,” said Mayor Sam Racadio.

The council on May 27 agreed to allow staff to continue to work on proposed districts and to draft a ballot initiative for consideration by the Planning Commission.

The item would then return to the City Council.

The city will need to submit the initiative and paperwork to the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters in early August for it to be placed on the November ballot.

City Attorney Craig Steele said May 27 the proposal is not being pushed by city staff and is a “risk aversion.”

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